Data. You’ve got heaps of it. But for today’s nonprofits, having data and using data are two very different things. Nonprofits use a host of powerful digital tools, each leaving behind a trail of data bread crumbs. Learning to follow these trails to meaningful insights is how nonprofits learn and grow. Proper understanding of data has profound ramifications for online fundraising, email marketing efforts, donor management and more. But not every nonprofit knows how to put their data to work.
Almost 100% of nonprofits intentionally collect data like email address, contact information and giving history. But once collected, not every organization knows what their data is trying to say. Here are some of the most common problems for nonprofits and their data, as well as solutions every organization can implement. If you don’t see your problem listed, stay tuned – we’ve got two more posts on the way!
Problem: You Don’t Know Where to Look for Data.
It’s second nature for nonprofits to record donations, communications, and the like. However, there are many, many other data points that are worth paying attention to. Most of these are in the digital realm, and may be available as the result of technologies and services which have surfaced in recent years or even months! Always be on the lookout for new tools that are changing the way nonprofits operate. And don’t overlook any of these obvious data sources either:
Social Media. All of the popular social media platforms come with some level of built-in analytics. Use it to your advantage and figure out what time of day your posts are most effective or what kind of posts generate the most donor engagement. Then write and schedule your appeals so they’ll get the most traction!
Email and Snail Mail. Every time someone replies to an email or direct mailing, they have made an investment of time and energy in your organization. These are important relationships! Determine your communication strategy by looking at the results of email and mailing campaigns so you always know the best time to get in touch with your donors.
Volunteers and Donors. It’s important to remember that roles like “donor” and “volunteer” are often interchangeable, especially as the years go by. Today’s college-aged volunteer may be a five-figure donor five or ten years from now! Corporate studies show that it is much easier to keep a customer than find a new one and the same goes for nonprofits and their contacts. Maintaining and cultivating these contacts is essential to what you do. Pay attention to your entire network of contacts, and always be looking for new ways to engage and inspire.
Events. Events are the perfect way to introduce people to your organization for the first time and motivate and reignite your donor base around your cause. And they’re also gold mines for gathering data in the real world and following up later with email marketing around fundraising campaigns. Keep meticulous track of your event registration and attendee lists so you can capitalize on the great impression you made in-person and encourage engagement online!
Problem: You Aren’t Using the Right Tools.
Not everybody can handle the number-crunching required for complex data analysis. Don’t fret; that’s why companies like Kindful exist! Our suite of resources sophisticates and centralizes your data, putting all the information you gain from events, email marketing, and peer-to-peer fundraising in one place so you can make educated decisions from all your data. And even if you don’t use Kindful, free tools like Adwords and SurveyMonkey can make marketing and communication blasts a lot more effective. See what’s out there. If there’s an aspect of your nonprofit that just isn’t working right, there’s likely a way that existing data and handy web tools can combine to solve your problem!
More Problems and Solutions to Come!
We could go on and on about how to overcome problems with your data… and we will, in two future posts! For now, be reminded that the social media platforms you use everyday are actually a great place to start collecting and working with data. Start there and you’ll be on the road to success. Stay tuned for tips on how to better understand all that data and put it to work for the betterment of your organization.
Schedule a live demo with our team, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.